How women are proving resilient during times of challenge, and why the answer to the future of the workplace lies in broadening your skillset.
There’s no denying that the pandemic has brought about huge change on a global scale. After decades of progress for women’s equality, the impact of COVID-19 felt like a significant step backwards due to imbalances in domestic work, including childcare, and the disproportionate economic impact on working women.
Now, many women are working to ensure that the virus doesn’t turn back the clock on years of hard work, striving for equality. Research by women’s membership club, AllBright, has found that women are using this opportunity to review their career options and finding opportunities for growth post-2020.
Women were disproportionately affected by COVID-19
Findings from research carried out by The London School of Economics revealed that women were more likely to be put on furlough, or face further long-term challenges including redundancy. These stark statistics only feed the idea further that women are having to adjust, adapt and build upon the skills that they already have in order to stay ahead in a heavily competitive work landscape.
Figures found by campaigning group, Pregnant Then Screwed, have further detailed the balance of inequality between working mums and their colleagues. The research found that 15% of the almost 20,000 women surveyed had been made redundant, or were expecting to be, with lack of childcare responsible for almost half of this figure.
On top of this, 57% believe that managing childcare during COVID-19 has hindered their career prospects. When attempting to find balance, a staggering 78% of working mums have found it challenging to manage their careers alongside childcare, with 25% of mothers sharing that their employers have shown them no flexibility when trying to maintain both.
Entrepreneurship is more appealing to women post-COVID
In statistics presented by AllBright, women are emerging from this period of adversity with resilience and an entrepreneurial mindset. Motivated to succeed with big plans in mind, 75% of women surveyed are hoping to kickstart their own venture, while 25% have already put the wheels in motion to get started.
A further 61% are dreaming of a complete career shake-up, which begs the question: how can women come out of this time feeling empowered, and fighting for the career that they want?
The answer? To upskill. AllBright’s figures found that 66% of the women surveyed were planning to invest time and effort into broadening their skillset, with the goal of bettering their career prospects, both now and post-pandemic.
Publishing, health, and fitness industries may see positive change
Areas including publishing, health and fitness came top of the list when looking at the sectors women are hoping to branch into, alongside beauty, finance and recruitment as secondary options.
Anna Jones, Co-Founder of AllBright, explains how the company’s research suggests an optimistic future for their community of smart-minded women: “Women are using the crisis as a catalyst for positive change,” she says. “Many see the challenges that have been caused by COVID as an opportunity to pivot their careers, look at their working life with a fresh perspective and perhaps act on a long-held goal that didn’t seem possible in the pre-pandemic world.”
In light of such challenges, the number of those hoping to upskill is even more of a boost for the future of women in the workplace. “We’re delighted that women are seeing this current moment as an opportunity to start afresh, improving not only their careers but their own professional skillsets, too,” adds Debbie Wosskow, Co-Founder at AllBright. “As we move past the tremendous struggles that women have faced during COVID, it’s fantastic to see that so many of those surveyed are thinking carefully about how best they can build towards a successful future.”
Find a female-focused career boost
So, if you’re thinking of doing the same, where should you start? Since the start of the pandemic, AllBright has been at hand for women worldwide, thanks to the launch of their online platform, AllBright Digital. With over 300 virtual events added since the start of the pandemic, alongside their bank of over 150 educational and inspiring Academy courses, AllBright has proved a place to help women begin building the skills they need to thrive through the next stage of their career journey.
Now, AllBright and FutureLearn have collaborated to launch Project You; a four-week course to help women find their ‘why’ and equip them with the power to harness their abilities in order to achieve their long-term goals.
Whether you’re looking to pivot in a brand-new direction or push forward with renewed passion, Project You will help you find your motivation and push you to progress in your chosen area, no matter your goals. From owning your values to discovering your strengths and weaknesses, this four-chapter course will act as a weekly session with your very own career coach, as you’re guided by experts with the help of inspiring case studies and supporting articles.